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Summer Camps Recap

Minecraft U at Hockaday happily had our busiest summer ever. Every day, we had over forty students absorbed for hours in the wonder of Minecraft. Whether building farms and houses, piecing together virtual locking doors and flying machines, or modding new contraptions, every child spent the day challenged and excited by the never-ending novelty of Minecraft.

Our curriculum, now in its fifth year of development and expansion, rewards children for learning more and solving challenging tasks. Walk into the Minecraft U computer lab and you’ll find a joyful mix of children intently focused on building something new and then some excited chatter, as they share their accomplishments with their classmates and instructors. At the end of each week, our students receive a certificate of progress, showing how much of the curriculum they’ve mastered. After camp is over, they are still allowed to play on the official Minecraft U whitelisted server and continue using their skills to create new projects.

Product Development Camp

This summer, 6 Minecraft U campers developed their own adventure map. They worked through a typical software design and development cycle, utilizing techniques such as design sprints, prototyping, user testing, iteration, and Kanban.

This is a fairly expansive and challenging map, with complex features such as a hub and intricate game mechanics. It has a fantastical, Lost vibe to it. You start off on a plane, which suddenly you must pilot. Unfortunately, the deck is stacked and you crash on a strange island. Then the real adventure begins!

Go here to check out the map!

The Coming Year

We are going to forego our fall and spring jam sessions this year, instead focusing on an update to our curriculum for next summer. Since the Microsoft acquisition, the Minecraft ecosystem has been moving faster and spread wider than ever before. There are still ample opportunities to learn the principles of coding, they just vary by platform. While Microsoft's Windows-only version of Minecraft is more performant, it's also less open, giving us fewer opportunities to crack things open, play around with them, and learn. At the same time, the original Mojang team has made major changes to the Java edition in the last few years, some of them allowing for more out-of-the-box modifications, some frustrating the existing modding community.

We're focusing on breaking our modding curriculum into multiple sections and creating more automation around the tooling required to get started modding. We're also going to rename our Product Development Camp to better emphasize the creative elements of the curriculum. 

Of Interest

Casually Explained: Evolution III - Life as a Video Game

Look for coming updates!

-- The Minecraft U team
Copyright © 2018 minecraftu, All rights reserved.

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